Environmental Initiative - Home

Archive for March, 2013

And The Finalists Are…

March 21st, 2013

I’m proud to announce this year’s batch of outstanding finalist projects for the 2013 Environmental Initiative Awards. Our panel of fifteen judges spent time earlier this week deliberating environmental project nominations from all across the state. This time of the year is truly inspiring for the staff and I as we learn about all of the exciting work happening to benefit our environment.

Without further delay, here’s the list along with the judges who selected this year’s finalists:

Business and Environment

Garden Fresh Farms Indoor Agriculture Systems »
Green Cooler Project »
General Mills Fridley Oat Hull Biomass Boiler »

Laura Babcock, University of Minnesota Technical Assistance Program
John Carlson, Braun Intertec
Larry Kramka, Houston Engineering

Energy and Climate Protection

Duluth Energy Efficiency Program »
Energy Innovation Corridor »
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Sustainable Operations Project »

Katy Lowery, Fresh Energy
Kandace Olsen, Great River Energy
Shelley Shreffler, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Environmental Education

Garlough Environmental Magnet School Partnerships »
Kilowatt Crackdown »
YES! Expansion into West-Central Minnesota »

Lynnea Atlas-Ingebretson, Charities Review Council
Tracy Fredin, Center for Global Environmental Education, Hamline University
Kate Knuth, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota

Natural Resource Protection and Restoration

Mississippi River Northwoods »
Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative »
Weber Stream Restoration Initiative »

Bill Droessler, Izaak Walton League of America
Heather Haynes, Friends of the Mississippi River
Emmett Mullin, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Sustainable Communities

Hennepin County Fix-It Clinic »
Macalester-Groveland Organics Recycling Program »
Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative »

Brady Barnstable, Environmental Resources Management
Sara Peterson, Parkway Law
Sarah Sponheim, East Calhoun Community Organization

I would like to express my thanks to the judges who shared their time and talents with us earlier this week. I would also like to sincerely thank Medtronic for hosting us and providing us with space to make these tough decisions. On behalf of the entire staff, we’re grateful to have such gracious hosts and incredible people willing to serve as judges each year.

Finally, the Environmental Initiative Awards is all about spending time together as a community to celebrate our state’s environmental success stories. So, I hope you will join us for a night of networking, inspiration, and renewal on Thursday, May 23. We’ll enjoy dinner, good company, and celebrate these fifteen finalists. With any luck the snow will all be melted by then!

Prices for full tables (seating 8), half tables (seating 4), and individual tickets are on sale now – Monday, May 13. Don’t miss it!



Mike Harley


Executive Director

Project Green Fleet: What We Do

March 13th, 2013

Since 2005, Environmental Initiative has retrofitted over 3,600 vehicles with pollution control equipment through our voluntary emission reduction effort, Project Green Fleet. However, we do not make the retrofit equipment and we do not install the equipment.  So, what is it that we do? It’s a good question! Our staff seeks out grant funding for pollution control equipment, finds fleets to participate, and makes it easy for them to reduce emissions. Here’s a little more about what we do:

"School Bus"Raise and leverage funding from multiple sources.  Environmental Initiative staff seek out and obtain grant funding for Project Green Fleet from a variety of sources.  We leverage funding from both state and federal government, corporate contributions, and foundations to maximize the number of vehicles we can clean up.  Many sources of our funding have restrictions and only can be used for certain things. By using varied funding sources, we’re able to work throughout Minnesota to apply a variety of different emission reduction technologies to have the maximum impact on air quality in the state.

Make it easy for fleets to participate. Since Project Green Fleet is a voluntary effort to reduce emissions, fleets are more willing to participate with us knowing that all that is required of them is to provide us with some basic information about their fleet and sign an agreement that they will work with us. Environmental Initiative staff are knowledgeable about the types of technologies that are available, understand what maintenance requirements are (if any), and if the equipment meets requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Staff are able to work directly with fleets to figure out what type of pollution controls are best for their vehicles. Since Environmental Initiative arranges for payment of the equipment and installation, the fleets never have to pay up front and wait to be reimbursed. (more…)

Andrea Robbins


Director, Engagement and Systems
Environmental Initiative - Home